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  • 04/30/15 03:19 PM
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    When do videos need voiceovers?

    Music and Sound FX

    This is a question we often hear from our clients. Recently we produced two video trailers for mobile games. The trailers were in the same style - epic battles, swords, Viking knights - but there was one big difference. One trailer had voiceovers and the other did not. Looking at the results, we wanted to share our thoughts about when videos need voiceovers, and when they don't. There are important pluses and minuses we think everyone should be aware of. And while we're at it, we wanted to ask your thoughts on the matter too. Here are the trailers:
    [media]http://vimeo.com/120471188[/media] [media]http://vimeo.com/120471186[/media]

    With voiceover

    Videos provide an enormous advantage when you deliver your message to potential customers: you can involve more sensory and cognitive inputs by offering visuals, sound and voice. People use their ears to augment what they see. When we see events that are "mute", we subconsciously think that something is wrong. We are less trusting and prepare ourselves for danger. In terms of evolutionary psychology, think of our ancestors who survived by hearing their enemies coming in the distance. After thousands of years of living in society, people are really good at picking up on the subtle nuances and intonation of how others speak! We use this information to form impressions of the people we talk with. So when we hear information given in a pleasant, confident voice, we begin to subconsciously trust the speaker. Voice, timbre and tone are an important way of influencing viewers. Voice is also the simplest way of conveying emotion and setting the tone of a video. [rollup="Example. Darklings II Teaser"]
    [/media][/rollup] And if you have an information-dense video - such as a presentation or tutorial - voiceovers are a critical tool.

    Without voiceover

    If your video's main message can be expressed visually (as can be done for some simple and obvious products), voiceovers may not be needed at all. For products like these, it's hard to write a good voiceover text because there is almost nothing to say. [rollup="Example. Two teasers"]
    [media]http://vimeo.com/120470198[/media] [media]http://vimeo.com/120471187[/media]
    [/rollup] But if you skip voiceovers, you must compensate by putting more effort into graphics and animation. Sometimes a voiceover and music set the mood and the visuals do not have to be 100% polished in order to achieve the right effect. In a video without voiceovers, every second of video must be spick-and-span. But these videos can offer savings due to the absence of recording and studio work. The #1 advantage of going voiceover-less is that these videos are immediately understandable to any viewer anywhere in the world. And even if the video contains bits of text, these words can be easily localized into other languages.
    7624ed57eb0046508e03d0a6ea1090bb.jpg Localizing a video without voiceovers is easy! Just change the labels shown on screen.
    By comparison, localizing voiceovers takes a lot of time and money. Translating the text, finding voice talent and assessing pronunciation in languages you don't know - that's the easy part. The hard part is that all the animation needs to be redone for each new voice, since different languages have different timings. That is why making the visuals sync up with the audio in a new language can cost 50 to 70% of the amount of the original animation. The bottom line is that if your product is simple, you have a simple and understandable message for your viewers, and you want to cheaply make a video that everyone can understand, you probably do not need voiceovers. But if your goals are loftier, our advice is to do it right the first time and get the most out of your video by adding voice. What do you think?

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